Prior to winning an Olympic silver medal in Rio in 2016, Hidilyn Diaz led a simple life in Zamboanga. Resources were scarce, and with a brood of six (she is the fifth child), their mother had to be very strict about money.
"Every time na manghihingi ako ng pera pang-kain, hindi niya ako binibigyan. [Sa isip ko], sige lang, next time ako na magbibigay sa 'yo ng pera," she recalled thinking. It might have been a thought made in jest, but Hidilyn did make it happen.
Not only is the 26-year-old able to give her parents financial support, she has also taken them to places like Cebu and Batangas. They were in Manila last February to celebrate Hidilyn's birthday, and on the celebration itinerary is a tour of the National Museum and a day of fun at Star City.
"Gusto kong makita nila na hindi lang sa Zamboanga ang buhay, na may buhay din sa Cebu, may buhay din sa Taal, magagandang tanawin. Gusto ko ma-change yung perspective nila. Gusto ko ma-experience nila yung hindi pa nila na-experience sa buhay."
Hidilyn goes on to tell a funny story about their experience going on a carnival ride. "Gusto ko ipa-try sa kanila [yung rides]. Willing naman sila, pero nung pag-akyat nila, tinanong nung crew ng Star City, 'Ma'am, wala kang sakit sa puso?' Sabi ko, 'Bakit, nakakatakot ba 'to?' Nung nandun na sila sa ride, sigaw sila nang sigaw. Saka ko naisip, ang sama ko bang anak? Nung natapos, sabi nila di na sila sasakay ulit dun. Sabi ko, para naman may maikwento kayo sa mga apo niyo," referring to her nephews and nieces.
Hidilyn is a foodie and has a sweet tooth in particular. Her favorite? "Halo-halo. Di ba halos every corner sa atin may halo-halo?" She's enjoying every chance she gets to indulge in the Pinoy dessert especially since it's one of the things she had to sacrifice while training for the recent Rio Olympics.
"Fresh na spinach talaga kakainin mo 'pag gabi. Spinach lang. Pag araw, may kanin na pero red rice, medyo masarap naman. Yung ulam depende, [iba-iba]. Pero yung spinach halos everyday talaga. Actually, after nung Olympics, ayoko na ng gulay."
On moments she felt disheartened during the competition, her mother's words were her comfort. "Every time na may nangyayari or hindi binibigay sa akin yung sitwasyon, sabi niya, 'Pray ka lang kasi baka may plan din si God.' Binibigyan niya ako ng pag-asa through prayers, sinasabi niya, 'Nagdasal ako para sa 'yo'. Siya yung talagang prayer warrior ko."
This coming Mother's Day, Hidilyn is planning a surprise for her mother Emelita by dining at a five-star hotel. "Gusto kong ma-experience niya [ang] Sofitel."
Inspired by Hidilyn's strict and meticulous diet rich in protein, the chefs at Sofitel Hotel's Spiral will prepare a Mother's Day treat for guests composed of Lapu-Lapu steamed in Brown Bean Sauce, Chicken Ginseng Soup, Spring Chicken Tagine, and a variety of Japanese maki rolls, as well as sugar-free desserts of Banana Hazelnut Torte and Chocolate and Coffee Pot de Creme'.
"Kadalasan 'pag Mother's Day, tumatawag at nagte-text lang ako kasi may training, so kain at tulog talaga ko. Ngayon lang kami makakapag-celebrate ng Mother’s Day kaya sosorpresahin ko siya," she tells us.
To make reservations for Sofitel's Mother's Day Brunch, call (02) 8326988. Lucky moms get a chance to win instant prizes when they dine.